The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
Nazarene background nothing to fret over
By DANNY CIACCIO, Sports Writer
Published: May 16, 2012
Besides the obligatory nickname dubbed by students, one of the biggest conversation pieces regarding Seattle Pacific President-elect Dr. Daniel Martin centers around his faith.
The fact that our next president hails from a Nazarene university and has Nazarene roots seems to create a sense of unease.
Since Dr. Martin was voted in as the next president of SPU, I have heard multiple misinformed comments on his Nazarene background. My favorite: “Did you hear the new president is Nazarene? Does that means we’ll have to start going to church on Saturdays?”
I didn’t know whether to respond with uncontrollable rage or extreme sarcasm. Sometimes the best response to stupidity is silence.
As the end of President Dr. Philip Eaton’s tenure nears and Dr. Martin takes the reins, this topic will inevitably become hotter.
Before that happens, let me make this clear: Dr. Martin’s Nazarene background will not have a negative influence on this university.
It is a statement that may appear to be misguided, considering the denominational difference between Dr. Martin and SPU’s Methodist foundation.
Nonetheless, I have no doubt that it is absolutely true.
Like Dr. Martin, I was raised in a Nazarene church. Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene in Meridian, Idaho, has been my home church for my entire life.
Within those walls, I devoted my life to Christ, was baptized and became a member of the church. My entire family and close relatives are all fellow “Nazbos.”
This fall, I became the first child in my family in at least three generations to enroll in a school not affiliated with the Nazarene Church.
Everyone in my family supported the decision wholeheartedly, even though it broke the tradition.
No one had any issues with me attending SPU because of the similarities between the Nazarene and Methodist churches. I trust Dr. Martin agrees.
The Church of the Nazarene has roots in the Holiness movement, which emerged from the Methodist Church in the mid-19th century from theologian John Wesley.
Even today, the Church of the Nazarene follows the methodology of Wesleyan Holiness.
The father of the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Phineas Bresee, was originally a Methodist minister.
After being a pastor for nearly 30 years, Dr. Bresee felt called by God to start a new church with an emphasis on reaching toward families and the poor.
From the beginning, Dr. Bresee insisted his new church would be closely aligned to his Methodist faith and a part of the Wesleyan Holiness denomination.
Based on belief statements on the websites for the Church of the Nazarene and the Methodist Church, it is difficult to find doctrinal differences.
Both denominations are based purely on the Bible’s teachings.
The missions of both churches are focused on bringing the kingdom of God to people and making disciples of all nations.
Upon entering the role as president of Seattle Pacific, Dr. Martin is required to become a member of the First Free Methodist Church.
Considering the congruence between these two holistic denominations, it will be an easy transition for Dr. Martin.
If he is OK with making the change, we should be too.
Since he is assuming the most prominent role on campus, it is important for students and faculty to be aware of the progress and decisions made by Dr. Martin.
It is an exciting time to be part of SPU. Our institution is expanding, and we can only speculate what changes acquiring Dr. Martin as president will bring.
Perhaps Dr. Martin will drop the infamous “engage the culture, change the world.” Maybe he will finally spur on the construction of the Irondale Hall dormitory and University Center.
He might even find a way to make Gwinn less like Grand Central Station.
Regardless of what he does, you won’t have to worry about being forced to go to church on Saturday.
Sports Editor Danny Ciaccio is a freshman intended journalism major at Seattle Pacific.